2TB Western Digital external hard drive Raw to NTFS

By hfsdude007
Aug 31, 2013
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  1. Good afternoon,
    I am sure this has been mentioned on here many times, but every time I search for my problem, I always get the same results: Third party this, format this, backup your data that.

    Here is what is going on. I have a 2TB external hard drive that is more than 90% full. backing up my data via third party software is not an option because I don't have room to store the data anywhere. The copious amount of data on the drive is also why I can not just simply format the drive to change the file system. I have also tried a couple of methods involving check disk commands and using disk management. neither of these methods have worked out in my favor. This problem has really shaken my confidence with computers and troubleshooting. up until this point I thought I was pretty well educated on fixing stuff like this, but I really can not figure this one out.

    So here's the summary: large hard drive, no formatting, no backing up the data, RAW to NTFS.

    Thank you.
  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,774   +1,429

    I'm still confused. What is it you want to do?

    Try Recuva, if you think your files have been deleted!
  3. hfsdude007

    hfsdude007 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    My hard drive is inaccessible and it says it is RAW. I need it to be converted back to ntfs without having to backup the data or format it. the data can not be lost.
  4. Hasitte

    Hasitte Newcomer, in training

    better not to do anything before you know the reason why the external hard drive is not recognized by your computer and shows raw file system. If you have enough time, you can also unplug your external hard drive and insert it into another computer to see if the problem still exists.
  5. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,774   +1,429

    Your best option would be to contact a data recovery center, that is if you data truly cannot be lost. Anything you do to try and rectify the situation, can make matters worse.
  6. hfsdude007

    hfsdude007 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I considered taking the unit to Geek Squad, but from what I hear, that can get a little costly.
  7. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,358   +167

    I once had good luck at file recovery using PhotoRec. It's free plus it only does read-only access to the drive so it won't make any change to it that could make it worse. So no harm in giving it a try

  8. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,358   +167

    Apologies for my double post, but one more thing. I recalled you said something about no space for recovering the files?

    If you have to go that route, you can also try TestDisk. Many (but of course, not all) have had good luck with it. However, when it first starts make sure it recognizes the correct geometry of your drive (like the disk size) before going further.
  9. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,774   +1,429

    Taking the drive out of the external case, could also be another option. The case electronics do frequently go bad. You would then have the option to mount the drive in your PC or another external case. Quite honestly, I would do this before labeling any external drive bad. I would be willing to place my money on a bad case, because to me what you describe doesn't really sound like the drive itself is bad. But thats just me and without trying it, there is no way to prove it.
  10. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,358   +167

    The only thing 100% for sure about computers is that nothing is 100% for sure about computers!

    That said, I agree case electronics often go bad. But IMHO that typically results in drives that aren't recognized or show device driver error codes when you connect them.

    I think when the drive suddenly appears "raw" it's most likely due to data corruption (e.g. the partition table is corrupt). This could happen if you unplugged the drive without first using the "Safely Remove Hardware" option.

    In any case, it certainly doesn't hurt to try removing the drive as well if you can.

    /* EDIT */
    p.s. just to clarify: My "nothin is 100% certain" comment is re: my own opinion and advice. Is all just my best guess
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  11. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 4,580   +76

    When you first got this unit what was the file system on it their already? Are you trying to get full 2TB out this and you won't be able too.
     
  12. hfsdude007

    hfsdude007 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I am glad to hear some of you recommend removing the HDD from the enclosure. that was my original idea to rectify this, but I was told not to by another source. I am definitely going to try it. tipstir, yes it was formatted when for first use. it reads 1.81 TB or something like that on the computer. I understand that I will not be able to use the full 2TB.
  13. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 4,580   +76

    1TB are only 914GB the 2TB would be near 1.8TB as you have described. So your trying to take these drives out of the case then try to use them.


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